Edited by Wave Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
ISBN# 9781933517667 (6.5x9.5 104pp, paperback and limited edition hardcover)
Lake Superior: Lorine Niedecker's Poem and Journal, Along with Other Sources, Documents, and Readings is a collection of personal, geologic, and historical writings by Lorine Niedecker and others. It includes the poet’s travel and reading notes, excerpts from explorer journals and Wisconsin guidebooks, and related critical and environmental writings—strata that inform a single poem’s creation and resonance.
Without dictating a destination, the writings here proffer histories and perspectives that leave room for our own. By drawing out the relationship between human time and geological time, the sedimentation of language and the layerings of rock, Lake Superior invites us to recognize poetry as a tool for environmental thought.
Heather Houser, Los Angeles Review of Books
In total, the map offered here by Wave Books leads back to the modest cabin on Lake Koshkonong in Wisconsin, where Niedecker traced her own poetic beginning to the discovery of the objectivist poets and eventually understood her job, as Elizabeth Willis has written, as "speaking for, rephrasing, recombining and condensing the phenomenal world into art."
What this collection provides through the collage of pieces is the “story” of the short poem. We get to see the influences, the conversations, notes and journals, tracking what might otherwise be too ephemeral to follow.
This gathering of various documents provides the opportunity to come as close as possible to observing the poet at work in her own mapped—out space—a rare, intimate consolidation of all relevant available information concerning one terrific poem.
Patrick James Dunagan, NewPages
An invisible hand seems to have selected and arranged layers of assertion and association in such a way that each aspect of the work seems both to reflect and illuminate the others. I have a notion that there should be a copy of this lovely, enigmatic edition in every motel room nightstand from Duluth to Sault Ste. Marie.
Joel Brouwer, On the Seawall
Like the eponymous Niedecker poem at its heart, Lake Superior is a richly layered and deftly allusive work of art, one that requires the reader to collaborate in its making.
Laura Sims, Coldfront Magazine
Years of half-forgotten letters and stripped-down poems, of slim volumes and scant attention: in Lake Superior, the poet’s mind and the poet’s words are compressed together and revitalized... the extensive body of her work offers an extraordinarily singular, courageous, and radical poetics.
Alice Whitman, Music and Literature Magazine
Throughout the poem and the included documents, a preoccupation with the natural world becomes apparent... an essential ruggedness and overarching sense of exploration, giving us both a history and a natural history though verse.
Renée K. Nicholson, Los Angeles Review
Lake Superior attempts to unearth the raw material buried in Niedecker’s records and lend insight into how these archives were compressed by the force of her pen.
Jay Yencich, Poetry Northwest
Lake Superior reminds us that the creative process is one that combines learning with mental collage-making, serendipity, immense seriousness of purpose, happy accidents along with unhappy dead-ends, flashes of insight, and a willingness to fashion from the quotidian a haunted but enduring knowledge.
David Wojahn, Numéro Cinq
Table of Contents
“Lake Superior” by Lorine Niedecker
Lake Superior Country, a journal by Lorine Niedecker
“Niedecker and the Evolutional Sublime” by Douglas Crase
Three Letters from Lorine Niedecker to Cid Corman
Excerpt from Back Roads to Far Towns by Bashō and trans. by Cid Corman
“Tour 14A” from Wisconsin, A Guide to the Badger State
“On a Monument to the Pigeon” by Aldo Leopold
Excerpt from the writings of Pierre Esprit Radisson
Excerpt from the writings of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft